Pan-fried salmon with fried zucchini, zucchini flowers, chilli and mint.
Pan-fried salmon with fried zucchini, zucchini flowers, chilli and mint. Photo: Marcel Aucar

I love fish and often crave it, but I'm pretty fussy when it comes to buying it. It pays to get to know your fishmonger, who can lead you to produce you might never have considered, give you great tips and guide you to the freshest of the day.

Pan-fried salmon with fried zucchini, zucchini flowers, chilli and mint

Salmon can be such an intense fish and although it goes well with rich flavours, I enjoy it with a fresh contrast. Cutting the fillets into thinner pieces results in a more elegant presentation, and if your pan is hot enough you'll still get good colour and keep the centre beautifully translucent. If you're really determined, you can have this on the table in under 15 minutes.

4 thick salmon fillets, about 200g each, skin on, cut in half lengthways

4 small zucchini

8 zucchini flowers with baby zucchini attached

150ml olive oil

salt flakes

freshly ground black pepper

1 bullet chilli, sliced, seeds in

1 handful mint leaves, torn

1 lemon

1. Trim the zucchini flowers and remove the stamen. Tear the flowers in half and place in a bowl. Set the baby zucchini aside. Slice the small zucchini in half lengthways and then into one centimetre-thick half moons.

2. To a medium frying pan over medium heat add the olive oil and heat for one minute. Add the sliced zucchini and fry until golden. Briefly drain on paper and add to the flowers. Fry the whole baby zucchini until golden, drain and add to the bowl, along with the chilli. Season, add half the mint, toss and set aside.

3. Tip out most of the oil from the pan and turn the heat to high. Season the salmon pieces and cook for 30 seconds to a minute on each side, or until golden but still a little rare in the middle. Place two pieces of salmon on each plate. Squeeze the lemon into the zucchini mix and toss through. Pile on top of the salmon, scatter over the remaining mint, drizzle with oil if desired, and serve.

Serves: 4

Drink: Semillon

snapper"

Pan-roasted snapper with garlic and bay leaves

This is a perfect dinner for two, beautifully cooked fish on the bone, scented with garlic and fresh bay leaves, simply dressed salad leaves, fresh bread to mop up the juices and a chilled glass (or two) of riesling. Delicious.

2 whole snapper, about 500g each, cleaned

extra virgin olive oil

salt flakes

freshly ground black pepper

4 large cloves garlic, skin on, smashed

1 stick fresh bay leaves, with about 6-8 leaves attached

1 lemon

1. Preheat the oven to 200C fan-forced or 220C conventional.

2. Dry the fish inside and out with paper towels, splash on some oil, season with salt and pepper and rub all over, including inside the cavity.

3. Heat a large ovenproof frying pan over high heat, add a good slug of oil and both snapper. Cook for two minutes on one side, flip and cook for another two minutes.

4. Add the garlic and bay leaves to the pan and cook for a further minute or until fragrant. Place the pan in the oven and roast for eight to 10 minutes.

5. Take the pan from the oven, spoon some of the juices back over the fish, squeeze over the whole lemon and then spoon the juices back again. Serve with simply dressed green leaves and plenty of bread to mop up the juices.

Serves: 2

Drink: Young, dry riesling

tuna

Tuna crudo with roasted eggplant, harissa, egg and cumin mayonnaise

This dish has a distinct spicy accent but at the same time is quite delicate and refined. The eggplant steams in its own skin, resulting in silky flesh, which works well with the jewel-like raw tuna. Serve it as a tapas-sized portion or as an entree.

1 large eggplant

300g prime tuna steak

extra virgin olive oil

salt flakes

freshly ground black pepper

1½ tsp ground cumin

2 tbsp mayonnaise (preferably homemade)

2 tbsp fresh harissa (you can find my recipe at goodfood.com.au) or less of a commercial version (they can be very fiery)

1 lemon, peeled and segmented

2 hardboiled eggs

1 handful coriander leaves

1 tbsp nigella seeds

1. Preheat the oven to 180C fan-forced or 200C conventional.

2. Prick the eggplant all over and bake for 30 minutes or until cooked through. Set aside to cool, cut in half and scoop out the flesh. Cut the flesh into 1.5-centimetre cubes and drain on paper towels at room temperature.

3. Dice the tuna into 1.5-centimetre cubes and toss in a little olive oil, season and mix through (do this on a plate or it will clump together). Season the eggplant pieces, then add them to the tuna and mix.

4. Mix the cumin through the mayonnaise (if it's too stiff, loosen with a little lemon juice) and dollop a little on each plate. Top with the tuna mix, a little harissa and some lemon segments, grate over the egg white, crumble over the yolk, scatter over the coriander leaves and nigella seeds, drizzle with olive oil and serve.

Serves: 4-6

Drink: A softer textural rose